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How to get Work as a Freelance Translator

Over the last three months, I have joined four outsourcing platforms as a freelancer translator: Fiverr, Odesk, Onehourtranslation, and Elance – all four quite different venues to secure translation jobs. In this post, I want to share some personal experiences and insights with starting freelancers or those of you who are thinking about going this route.

The truth is that everybody is blessed with its own expertise, and more often than not, the person who would be able to get a certain job done might not equipped with the ability to get the job in the first place, and vice versa. A while ago I was ‘hired’ by a client who claimed that he needed professional translators to translate some business texts from English to Chinese. However, shortly thereafter I realized that he wasn’t the business owner nor even a translation agency. He was an individual translator just like me, only that he somehow managed to secure much more jobs than he could handle all on his own, so he re-outsourced his work to other freelance translators and offered them lower pay than what he was offered by his clients. This way he managed to make money without even having to translate by himself anymore.

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When you step into the translators’ community don’t be surprised if in the beginning you find yourself in the bottom of the hierarchy – even if you are very experienced in the offline world. Therefore you should not get frustrated when you application is declined when the elected one has “I live Japan. I have master degree in English.” written on his profile. The very first thing you should set straight before hitting the ‘sign up’ button is to battle against your own uncertainty. Convince yourself that you can do the job and then arm yourself with unbreakable mindset and ultimate patience to defeat the any potential setbacks along the way.

Up next is to make yourself available online for potential clients. For examples, I will use Odesk and Fiverr to show you a few tips about how to make a decent profile, how to apply for jobs, and how to get the job done ahead of the deadline without making yourself stressed and crazy.

How to make a decent profile?

Also known as: how to make a glamorous and attractive profile without having to lie? My fundamental philosophy is to be my better-true-self whenever it’s possible. When filling in the blanks upon registration, use a good natural picture of yourself (the one that can present your confidence and good attitude, preferably but not necessarily, frontal picture with a big smile and composed posture). When writing an overview about yourself, make a logical outline first. I would recommend you to first give your clients a brief idea of your competence, in my case, language skills. Then highlight your language skills by explaining how you got to possess these language skills.

For example, as a Japanese native speaker, you are able to speak English at a native level because you have attended an international school where the language for teaching was English, or you have studied abroad, or you are none of these but passed the TOEFL test with flying colors. Do whatever necessary to enhance your profile. Set up your rate based on your evaluation of yourself or you can do a check up on your competitor’s rates and then find your most competitive position. Fill up the portfolio and pass the tests as well as possible. Those tests are actually much easier than you might think. However, you can only take them once. Don’t be lazy. Laziness won’t get you anywhere when you choose to be a freelancer because you don’t have a fixed boss to get steady assignments from every day when you set foot in the office. Take as much time as you need to create an original and sincere and convincible profile. Get rid of the grammar mistakes and typos. If you really find it difficult for you to present yourself in words, as an alternative, you can also hire a professional ghost writer online to write it based on the information you provided.

Now that you are registered, the next step is to wait for orders or actively apply for jobs (recommended when you start out).

How to apply for jobs?

1) Be alert

As a rookie, you are most likely to be ignored by professional clients and targeted by scammers. To diminish the risk of being taken advantage of, remember to always check for references. For example, on Odesk, take a few seconds before applying to check the client’s previous feedbacks. When it’s a fixed price job, the payment is merely depending on your client’s integrity. On Fiverr, remember to not do the job until the client places an official order and activates the order. There are a lot of rules on both of the two websites. Again, don’t be lazy and at least skim through the policies and rules beforehand to avoid unnecessary pitfalls.

2) Start with small jobs

Although your profile is important, your ratings are even more important. There is a wide variety of clients out there. Most of them value ratings and experiences very much but there’s still some of them who are willing to give a chance to a newbie. On Odesk, new contractors usually have very limited applications to use every week. In the beginning, in order to make the best of your limited chances, you might want to focus on small jobs, for they are easier to get and the quick turnaround enables you to get more ratings quickly and to build up your connections. Eventually, you will get the attention of bigger clients.

3) Submit an application that can help you grab the client’s heart

In case you find it too time-consuming to write a cover letter every time you apply, you can make a standard template. However, this might save you time but won’t get you any further unless you season it according to the job posting to adjust to the client’s specific taste. Besides displaying how skillful you are for the job requirements, you might want to show the client your seriousness and enthusiasm by asking questions about the job posting. Last but not least, do a review before submitting. It’s ok if your wording is mediocre but make sure your texts flow naturally without any grammar mistakes and typos.

4) When is the best time to submit an application? The earlier, the better.

The early bird gets the worm. As a beginner with no substantial credit yet to back you up, you can compensate by NOT BEING LAZY. Get up 1 hour earlier or stay up 30 mins later depending on the time zones for you, your competitors and the clients. First come, first serve. Also, time is money, for both the client and yourself.

Finally, two days later, maybe two weeks later, someone hired you! Then comes up the next question:

How to overpower the deadline rather than being enslaved by the deadline?

In the earlier stage of my not-so-long freelance career, I messed up my daily activities by devoting all my priorities on my contracts and orders. All that to impress the client and also to get the jobs finished so that I can proceed to my next job. I was so stressed that I began to doubt my choice of becoming a freelancer. It turned out that being hasty was not the same as being fast. The client won’t be satisfied unless your work is impeccable. Don’t expect you can get away with the little defects resulting from your hastiness. In the end, it takes you much more time to revise your work again and again, than have it done rather slowly and carefully. Although not too slow, because most clients still will give good ratings if you do good follow-ups but late delivery is inexcusable. Some clients even can use it as a potent reason to not pay you at all.

I was advised by a successful freelancer that I should learn to focus my attention. When there’s a lot on your plate and your time is limited, the only thing you can do is to increase your productivity by putting all your attention on your current task. Put things in order according to their flexibility and importance. Devote your most energetic hours to conquer the most difficult tasks. When it’s time to have a romantic dinner with your loved one, then forget all about the contracts. You know what matters the most.

I believe the one shared goal for those who choose to become freelancers is to enjoy the freedom. It takes strong mindset, positive attitude and enormous devotion and more to get closer and closer to this goal. The beginning is always the hardest, but it’s not impossible. Many people have made it. Why shouldn’t you?

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Covering Letter For Job Application

The task of writing a cover letter can become very daunting. There are so many important features to remember and there are pressures to make sure you give the right impression of yourself; but, if you focus on the individual components of the letter, it can be done easily and efficiently. Writing a cover letter is a very important and crucial step in forming a resume and submitting a job application and very often the first written impression any potential employer will have of you. It is very important to make sure that you write a proper cover letter because that is usually the one thing that determines whether a company will contact you for an interview or just set your resume aside.

The following is an example of a cover letter for a job application.

Sample Covering Letter for Job Application

January 16, 2012

Jennifer M. Skylar

114 Morris Blvd.

Wheeling, WV 43659

Dear Ms. Kristi Branch:

Please consider me an applicant for the high school art teacher that your school system has available. I learned of the position from a current substitute teacher, Jeremy Folli. For the past 4 years I have been an art teacher at Beallsville High School in Beallsville, Ohio. After moving to northern West Virginia, I am once again eager for an opportunity to broaden my opportunities as a teacher.

  • As a teacher at Beallsville High, built a structured, enjoyable classroom environment that utilized the state requirements as a framework in assisting each student in finding their fullest potential and expressing their individual characteristics and emotions through different forms of art.
  • Excellent ability to manage a classroom and meet the rigorous requirements and demanding schedule that comes with being a teacher.
  • Strong ability to formulate the curriculum in a way that meets the needs of all the levels of the students that are in the same classroom yet encourages individuality and self expression.

A major strength that I would bring to the Wheeling School System is my many years of successful experience as an art teacher. I feel that with my strong communication and organizational skills, ability to encourage and promote self expression and art appreciation in students, and the dedication I have toward my students and teaching, I would be of great benefit to both your school and your student body.

I look forward to hearing from you in the near future and would welcome the opportunity to have an interview with you and your staff. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jennifer M. Skylar

Certified Art Teacher

The employer’s HR motivations

Why do we have to know them? Searching for a position is selling your workforce. All sales mean satisfying demands, the consumer’s supposed or real needs. You have to know these to be able to satisfy them. Knowing them helps us with the presentation of information.

Cola. I have a kind of beverage that raises the blood pressure and damages your teeth. Do you want it?

Instead of this: It is the best if ice cooled, Cola … pure drink of natural flavours. The advertisement does not lie just presents the information adequately. It is more difficult to sell workforce because we are standing opposite a rational consumer but the presentation of information is of big significance. Let us get acquainted with the needs.

A little HR science (In what kind of conceptual framework does a HR specialist think?):

it is possible to split the needs into two:

  • staff and personal specification
  • staff: (the expectations coming from the given position, it is written down at bigger firms, and attached to the job description) These criteria usually appear in the advertisement and if the applicant does not suit them, his CV is already thrown away. (In case of too many applicants it is possible that applicants with the given criteria are not called in, that is why the quality of the CV is very important.)
  • personal specification: clever, beautiful, well-educated, etc. This is the applicant’s ideal picture.

The staff specification is mechanical, it is the essence of the selection process that examines mostly the following:

Whether his characteristics, his personality suit the given scope of activities and position or not. Furthermore, whether he really wants to work for the company in the long run at full stretch after he is applied.

(vocational competence – the selection process is not really able to examine the vocational competence – of course they may ask about results, may apply a vocational filter test in certain cases, but this is rather the competence of staff specifications)

It is important for all employees:

  • To think in the long run: it is advantageous if he is interested in the given firm or in the given special position
  • To be motivated: be interested in the scope of activities, like his work, his characteristics and his personality suit the given position
  • To suit the firm’s “culture”: if he does not have to work alone, his social characteristics are important, such as friendliness, etc.
  • To be suitable for the given job: experience, qualifications. It is good if he can produce results showing that he is perfectly suitable for the advertised job.

How To Write a Cover Letter For A Job

When you search for jobs, you will likely see that the company is requesting employee candidates to send a resume and a cover letter, which seems like a simple task, but this is actually rather tough for a lot of people. A lot of people like you would probably like to see a sample of a cover letter, which is fine, but using another person’s sample will probably not get you the job because the boss probably has hundreds just like it. Instead, you should focus on creating a cover letter that sells the boss on who you are, and why you are the best bet for the job. When it comes to learning how to write a cover letter for a job, there are a few steps you should take.

How To Write a Cover Letter For a Job

Cover Letter Formatting

The first thing you need to keep in mind is that a cover letter that has poor formatting, spelling, and grammar will probably end up in the trash can. The company simply cannot afford to hire someone who could tarnish the company’s reputation by writing a letter to customers that would not even pass an elementary school grammar test. Thankfully, all of the word processing programs today will allow you to check your spelling and grammar, so you can ensure that it is perfect. You will also want to strategize how the cover letter will be organized. It is best to discuss your personal qualities as well as your business skills, but the two categories should be clearly separated.

Content

When your friends ask you about your favorite hobby, the first thing you likely do is tell them how much better you have become at it over the years, and your rightfully brag for a bit, so why do you not do the same in your cover letter. Well, if you are like most people, the answer is pretty simple and that is the fact that you do not think an interviewer wants to hear people brag, but they do. In fact, if a person does not do some bragging on their accomplishments, the boss will likely view the person as being unconfident, and someone who does not think they have accomplished too many things in life. A cover letter is your perfect opportunity to tell the boss why you are the right fit for the company, and it can even be an immediate step towards getting a promotion before you even have the job you applied for.

A cover letter, contrary to popular belief, is something that everyone has the natural ability to write well, but you probably tense up under pressure and tell yourself otherwise. You need to act like you are trying to convince your best friend to take up your favorite hobby, but instead of talking about your hobby, you will be talking about your personal and work-related skills. Now, it is time for you to take these concepts and get the job you always wanted.

 

Sample Cover Letter for Job

Whether you have recently graduated and are looking for your first full-time job, or you are wanting to apply for a new career, you will need to follow a few steps. One of these steps is a resume and cover letter, and a lot of people do not have a clue regarding what they should include on their cover letter. A lot of these people believe that their cover letter will not even be read since they have already included a resume, but this is far from the case. In fact, a properly written cover letter can really do an excellent job of showcasing the employee candidate’s abilities.

Sample Cover Letter for Job Application

Many people who do not know how to write an effective cover letter would like to see a sample cover letter for a job, but the problem is this does not actually exist. For one, each business is looking for different qualities, so a cover letter might be perfect for one industry and terrible for another. Instead of searching for the “perfect sample,” you should put a lot of focus into your writing skills for your cover letter. Many people fail to understand that the person who reviews the cover letter will be checking to see how well the candidate can communicate via paper.

Another common mistake that people make on cover letters is to not sell themselves completely. You need to use the cover letter to tell the company why you are a better fit for the job than the people you are competing against, which means that you should do a little bragging about your accomplishments and skills. You will also want to decide how to organize your cover letter, so the person reviewing it will be able to consider your skills. One way that you can accomplish this is to have all of your work-related accomplishments organized together, and you can discuss your personal qualities in a separate section. You should try to find out as much as possible about the company, so you can know exactly what kind of qualities they are looking for. In addition, you should never stretch your qualities to mislead the company because even if you do not get caught in the act, you will likely be pretty uncomfortable if you have to change your personality to fit the job description.

Sample Cover Letter for Internal Job Posting

When you have worked for a company long enough, you will likely be offered a promotion, but in most cases, you will not be the only one considered. For this reason, you will need to construct a cover letter that sells the boss on why your skills are perfect for the position. You should mention specific things you have learned while working for the company, so the boss has confirmation that you took extra time to learn the concepts.

With a little time and effort, you can write a perfect cover letter. You will find samples of cover letters by searching around, but none of them are going to be a perfect fit for you. A cover letter is your chance to shine, so do not waste this opportunity by borrowing another person’s idea.

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